Today: Apr 21, 2024

State graduation rates on the rise

Jessica Giannone, General Assignment Reporter-

Graduation rates in the Connecticut State University System institutions are substantially increasing, according to the CSUS website, but these numbers don’t include all students.

“[The statistic] has the potential to obscure considerable accomplishments,” said an article written by CSUS Board of Trustees member Angelo Messina on the CSUS website. “The numbers can be right, and still lead us to conclusions that would be wrong.”
According to the CSUS website, the graduation statistic, by federal law, doesn’t include transfer or part-time students, or those who take longer than six years to graduate. A student has to stay at the same university, not just within the CSUS, to be counted in the statistic.

“If you don’t go wire-to-wire at one university and graduate within six years, for statistical purposes, you simply don’t count at all,” said Messina in his article.

He went on to say that four students may graduate from a school, but the graduation rate can still be zero because they may be transfers, part-time, or enroll in their freshman semester, then take a break and come back seven years after freshman orientation.

Bernard Kavaler, assistant vice chancellor for Public Affairs of the Connecticut State University System Office, said more graduates begin as first-time freshmen than transfers, but the numbers are close.

He said individual students graduate at different rates, but the statistic is done for a six-year period.

“A lot of students,” said Kavaler, “especially at Southern, graduate from other schools and complete their masters here.”
Kimberly Crone, associate vice president for Academic Student Services, said Southern is focused on recruiting, enrolling and graduating students who view the university as their top choice.
“Southern’s reputation is built on quality academic programs taught by dedicated, talented faculty who are committed to student success,” said Crone.
According to Crone, while many students opt to begin their four-year degree at a community college, many also opt to enroll as first-time freshmen at their CSU of choice. She said the advantage for the student is in the choice, and Southern wants students’ primary focus to be on enrolling and attaining their bachelor’s degrees, “ideally in four years.”
“Sometimes,” said Patrick Dilger, the director of Public Affairs at Southern, “a bachelor’s is not enough anymore. [Students] want to give themselves a better chance when they get into the workforce.”
Crone said Connecticut’s economic future centers around having an educated workforce, and the cost of attaining a college degree is an important consideration for most college-bound students and their families. She said in the competitive economy, education has become increasingly more valuable.

“Education pays,” said Crone. “Earnings increase and unemployment rates decrease with education attainment.”

Crone said Connecticut is fortunate to have “outstanding public higher education options” for students – “all at affordable cost.”

Dilger said he thinks the Connecticut state schools’ popularity is due to the affordability and range of programs they have.

“We tend to come up with programs that meet demand or areas of shortage,” said Dilger.

He said he thinks the high graduation rates at state schools would be similar in other states as well.

Kavaler said some students are attracted to specific programs, and state universities often are not at the same price levels as private universities.

Southern is in the forefront of technology-driven learning initiatives, according to Crone. Students learn in newly-renovated classrooms and labs, and the library and Student Center “complement” the academic experience.

“The university is ideally located in New Haven, the state’s primary academic and cultural hub,” said Crone. “For these reasons and more, Southern [can be considered] a university of first choice.”

The CSUS website says in 2010, the CSUS institutions had a record-setting 7,005 individuals receive degrees and certificates.

It says a recently published Chronicle of Higher Education analysis of 1,400 institutions nationwide showed 35% reported lower graduation rates for the six-year period ending in 2008 than for the period ending in 2003. At CSUS, graduation rates have been improving.

“The bottom line,” said Kavaler, “is students stick with it because of the quality of the academic programs and the quality of the faculty.”

Messina said in his article, “Regardless of when [students] arrive, or how long it takes to complete their education, they tend to stay in overwhelming numbers.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog